ROMA have pulled the plug on their pursuit of Riyad Mahrez and admitted they are moving on to other targets – leaving Arsenal with a clear path to the Algerian.
However there is nothing to suggest the Gunners have altered their position from last summer, when Arsene Wenger snubbed the wantaway winger.
Roma had tabled bids of £21million and over £30million for Mahrez but the Foxes threw out both bids and will not consider selling until someone meets their minimum valuation of £50million.
That message finally got through to the Italian giants as Roma’s sporting director Monchi accepted defeat and confirmed, with three years remaining on his current contract, Leicester hold all the aces where Mahrez is concerned.
Monchi told Italian media: “I’m optimistic by nature but the truth is Roma did everything possible to buy the player.
“He would have been the most expensive player in Roma’s history but up until now we haven’t received any positive feedback from the other side.
“The offer we made was an important one but the priority isn’t just Mahrez because we’ve done everything necessary – now we’re looking around for other players.”
Mahrez claimed he wanted to speak to Roma but sources close to the player believe his preferred choice has always been to stay in the richest league in the world – with Arsenal, his No.1 option if they enter the fray.
Monchi said: “The player (Mahrez) expressed what he wants publicly but it’s right that we respect his club.
“In the end everything will be resolved in the will or desire of whether or not Leicester want to sell the player.”
With those three years remaining on his contract, the answer from Leicester’s camp remains a resounding: ‘No.’
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